I recently posted Part 5 of my introduction to a popular Stone Street Press book that I published some years ago, the “The Lament for Art O’Leary”.
At the end of that piece I talked a bit about my new book, and I am now –herewith– going to post that section as a stand-alone piece.
“In the last section of my “Lament for
Art O’Leary” introduction,
I make a comparison between the caoine
and the church traditions –a comparison
that was very fresh in my mind from the
sad and moving occasion of my own
mother’s death in 1994.
It strikes me as odd –at the time of
writing in February 2010– that my
mother is again very much in my thoughts
as I finish my own long story-poem
about her and her cousin Liam Lynch
Chief-of-staff of the Irish Republican
Army in the Irish Civil War of 1922-
1923 (which ended when Liam was
shot dead at the age of 29, in April,
1923 –the last shot fired in that
bitter civil war!)
Their lives were very intertwined.
They both grew up in or near the
town of Mitchelstown in County Cork,
and as a young man Liam had worked
as an apprentice in my grandfather’s
hardware store. Their two families were
very close and frequent visitors.
My long poem tells the story of their lives
and examines closely the factors that
combined to make the young Liam such an
extraordinary and heroic but ultimately
a tragic figure in Ireland’s fierce struggle
for freedom from 1916 to 1923,
–pivotal in the lives of Michael Collins,
DeValera and Churchill in Ireland– and turns out
to be the one who, with his casting vote,
could have ended the Civil War.
It is said that he was on his way to
accept the truce the day he was gunned
down –a truce he had turned down
several times beforehand!
Liam Lynch is truly a tragic figure in
Ireland’s recent history –a young man who
if he had signed the truce one day before
would probably now be regarded as one of its
His dying words were: “This should never have
Which will be the title of the book —
” This should never have happened.”
My book is almost ready –there is a little
more preparatory work to do, especially the
calligraphing of the text ( some 2000
lines in all!). You can actually reserve your
signed copy or copies by email right now.
(If buying it happens to be outside your budget,
don’t worry –I plan to post large sections of it right here
in this blog.)
After two years of being completely absorbed
in this very satisfying project,
I am looking forward to going out and doing
readings and other appearances, and
presenting an important subject with
as much compassionate objectivity,
(and as much of the Venerable Bede’s
“Outstanding Moderation”) as
I can muster in these low days of toxic
Wish me luck!